28 July 2010

Botanical Appeal ~ Gardens as Entertainment

Very interesting to read Judith Dobrzynski's NYTimes piece Botanical Gardens Look for New Lures about reinvention and renewal...
"Botanical gardens are experiencing an identity crisis, with chrysanthemum contests, horticultural lectures and garden-club ladies, once their main constituency, going the way of manual lawn mowers. Among the long-term factors diminishing their traditional appeal are fewer women at home and less interest in flower-gardening among younger fickle, multitasking generations. Forced to rethink and rebrand, gardens are appealing to visitors’ interests in nature, sustainability, cooking, health, family and the arts. Some are emphasizing their social role, erecting model green buildings, promoting wellness and staying open at night so people can mingle over cocktails like the Pollinator (green tea liqueur, soda water and Sprite). A few are even inviting in dogs (and their walkers) free or, as in Cleveland, with a canine admission charge ($2). "We’re not just looking for gardeners anymore,” says Mary Pat Matheson, the executive director of the Atlanta Botanical Garden. “We’re looking for people who go to art museums and zoos."

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